embedded software boot camp

Online Embedded Software Store: a good idea?

Saturday, February 11th, 2012 by Miro Samek

Have you visited the new online Embedded Software Store (embeddedsoftwarestore.com) operated by Avnet and ARM? Did you buy anything there? What do you think?

Well, I visited the website, but frankly, I wouldn’t be comfortable buying software there.

For example, suppose you are interested in operating systems. That’s easy enough, because on the home page Embeddedsoftwarestore.com lists “New Products” in this category. Yesterday they listed uC/OS-II and CMS-RX RTOS. I clicked on uC/OS-II, which brought me to the product page for “uC/OS-II on the TI LM3S9Bxx – Product Line” by Micrium for $40,982.14. There is really not much of a product description, except for the “Product License”, which is a click-through EULA (End User License Agreement). Otherwise you can just add the product to the shopping cart and head out to check-out. Before you pay, you are presented with an order summary, where they list the products RoHS status, the packaging, as well as other equally “useful” information for software. You are also reminded that you are responsible for Duties and Taxes.

But, wait a minute. What are you buying here? First, you are not really buying the software, because you most likely already have it. It is available for a free download from Micrium (see http://micrium.com/page/downloads/source_code). So, you obviously don’t care about “shipping”. Rather, you buy the rights to use the software in your Product Line. But then the click-through EULA makes no sense. It has no binding signature of the vendor and it has no Product Line definition.

If I would really spend $40,000 for legal rights, I would accept nothing less than a contract signed personally by an officer of Micrium. A click-through contract is good, perhaps, for buying a 99-cent song online, but then you actually get the song. Here, you are about to spend $40K, which is like buying two cars with a mouse click, and you don’t get anything.

Well, perhaps I’m missing something here, but it seems to me that software is a bit more complex product than chips and boards. What do you think of this business model?

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